Dear Jeff Bezos: Don’t Go To Northern Virginia!
Bisnow is reporting that Seattle-based Amazon.com is sniffing around the Dulles Toll Road for 80,000 square feet of office space, which means they're bringing about 400 employees. They talked to some folks who know why this could be:
Northern VA's biggest asset is its workforce. The TechAmerica Foundation's Matthew Kazmierczak tells us tech firms are attracted to three things: “Talent, other tech companies, and capital, and Northern Virginia has all of them.” In addition to a large cache of federal IT gurus, NoVa also enjoys access to some of the country's finest schools and biggest institutions. That translates to a “pipeline of potential workers and clients.”
Balderdash! Everybody knows the next generation of the tech industry is in D.C., not the snoozy suburbs. Here are ten reasons why you, CEO Jeff Bezos, should take your talents to the District:
- Sure, the Dulles Toll Road is right on the way to Dulles Airport, which has six daily non-stop flights to Seattle, when National Airport only has two. I'm sure that can be rectified.
- Sure, corporate income and commercial property taxes are a hell of a lot higher in D.C. than Virginia. But wait! You're a tech company, which means you get all kinds of tax breaks! Tell me that's not appealing.
- Sure, D.C.'s universities haven't exactly been tech powerhouses. But the University of Maryland has been, for a long time now, and we're closer to them than Dulles is!
- I'm not sure what you want all your new office workers to do, but if it's anything federal government-related, the District is a lot more convenient than Tysons Corner. Must I introduce you to Washington traffic? If you really must deal with the military, the Pentagon has a Metro stop.
- Okay, according to you, Alexandria and Arlington read more than Washingtonians. But according to other people, D.C.'s the most literate city in America. So let's call it a draw.
- The District is going all out to lure Microsoft to St. Elizabeths. There's definitely room for you too. It could be like a Seattle-away-from-Seattle, complete with a biodiesel processing facility and barista training academy!
- Speaking of Seattle: You're building a pretty snazzy headquarters out there, making a just-outside-downtown neighborhood into an urban paradise. Should you settle for everything less for your East Coast employees?
- Speaking of employees: Bright young tech geek density is building here, and they don't like having to get in a car to hit a bar after work. In fact, there usually is no "after work," and they'd prefer to come to the office in sweatpants. Hard to do in an anonymous office park somewhere.
- Did I mention the city government wants you here? "We'd be delighted to help Amazon expand its presence in the District," said D.C.'s director of business development and strategy David Zipper, who could barely contain his excitement. Take that to the bank!
- Yeah, commercial office rents in Northern Virginia average about $30 per square foot, and in D.C. they're about $50. But it gets more expensive in the attractive places, like Alexandria and Arlington, and nowheresville Northern Virginia is terrible.
Take it from a Seattleite: You belong here. Make it happen.
Photo via Wikimedia Commons